CHILDREN who do well studying maths and science always get more opportunities.
And the three-day 2017 Eskom Expo International Science Fair, which took place in Joburg last week, showed this to be true.
Three grade 12 pupils, Nondumiso Mdletshe and Joshua Boa-Amponsem, from Khula and Empangeni High Schools in KZN, and Sindi Matlaila, from Khamane Secondary School in Mpumalanga, were big winners on the day.
* Joshua created a pipe, out of ordinary and inexpensive household parts, that distills clean water from humidity in the air.
* Nondumiso knew that people in rural areas burnt the weeds they had collected so she built a “biodigestor” and filled it with a weed called ibozane or wild spinach.
The affordable biodigestor produces electricity by breaking down the weed and the remains can be used as fertiliser.
* Sindi researched how soil and dirt keeps its own electric current like a weak battery. He used the data to create a soil lamp. Sindi said: “This lamp is powered by the current in the soil only. It’s weak but it doesn’t release any greenhouse gases – it is environmentally friendly.”
Joshua, Nondumiso and Sindi will each get bursaries totalling R1 332 000 to study engineering at a Mzansi university next year.
Other achievers were Edrich Engelbrecht, in grade 10 at Hoërskool Waterkloof in Gauteng, who won R75 000, and Khilona Piyarlall, in grade 9 at Scottburgh High school in KZN, who won R50 000.
The competition invites young scientists from Mzansi but also from around the world to participate. Started 37 years ago, the fair aims to address the critical science and engineering skills shortage in South Africa.
Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, who spoke at the fair, said: “I was intrigued to see that all their projects sought to solve problems we are facing today, and the solutions they are developing are not for their own gain but for society’s benefit.”
For more information about the fair visit www.exposcience.co.za